How vehicle telematics is changing the future of business

08 June 2022 JW Oberholzer, Senior Manager for Commercial Sales at Netstar
JW Oberholzer, Senior Manager for Commercial Sales at Netstar

JW Oberholzer, Senior Manager for Commercial Sales at Netstar

Rising fuel prices, pending carbon emission regulations and tighter road-safety regulations, are all factors business leaders need to consider in the modern era. Smart money is on using technology to redefine the future of mobility, writes JW Oberholzer, Senior Manager for Commercial Sales at Netstar, a subsidiary of Altron.

Technology has ensured we no longer need to leave things to interpretation. With the widespread use of smartphones, tracking devices, sensors, and vehicle software, telematics data gathered from vehicles and fleets can now be communicated and shared in real-time. This data can be used to protect and improve people’s lives. It can also play a significant role in reshaping the way we do business.

Because of the ubiquity of mobile phones, data gathered from vehicle sensors and other telematics technology can be accessed, interpreted, and applied instantly, on the move, by customers and staff. This makes telematics an even more powerful resource because it is instantly, and consistently relevant for business.

Mobile communication is the new standard, a sentiment shared by the National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) CEO Mike Anderson who recently commented that from communicating with your workforce to reaching your customers, communication is now focused on mobile technologies. Mobile devices and mobility are greatly altering the way we communicate.

This trend is only expected to accelerate. Reliance on vehicle telematics is expected to grow exponentially as we move towards an increasingly connected world.

Managing rising fuel costs

Something we can agree affects us all is the steep rise in the price of fuel. In the past year alone, South Africa recorded a 41% increase. And with the current conflict between oil giant Russia and Ukraine, these costs will likely continue to rise.

Data gathered from corporate vehicles can provide unique insights into efficiency practices and solutions that could lower fuel consumption for your fleet – for instance by investing in better driver behaviour, reducing idle time, integrating speed limiters, and detecting fuel theft.

Reducing carbon footprints

By using telematics to inform fuel-efficient solutions and reduce overall petrol usage, businesses can lower carbon emissions and boost the sustainability of their entire business. Several telematics providers also offer carbon-trading credits and the means for you to work towards a neutral – or even regenerative – carbon footprint.

Improving road safety

Telematics does not just offer major efficiency benefits; it also supports driver safety. The latest South African road-safety statistics reveal just how unsafe the streets can be for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. There has been a 75% increase in monthly accidents, year-on-year, according to the Department of Transport.

"With recent fatalities on South Africa’s roads increasing, particularly those involving trucks, fleet owners should consider telematics as part of an overall safety and accident prevention strategy,” says IntegriSure Executive Chairman, Arnold van der Linde.

“Telematics can be very successfully used by corporations to not only track behaviour, but also to ensure the safety of their drivers, their loads and other road users. Any possible problems such as brake failure, speeding or faulty parts can be picked up and rectified, avoiding fatalities.”

Sharing telematic between vehicles and third parties can also help to optimise traffic flows, manage congestion, plan safer routes, monitor infringements, and incentivise good driver behaviour.

Increasingly more businesses and fleet owners are recognising the need to monitor activity on the road – to control costs, boost productivity, and maintain full compliance with government regulations. Telematics plays a significant role in making driving more efficient, safer, and greener.

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